Giunta Attending State of the Union As Guest of First Lady

President Barack Obama applauds after presenting the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010. Giunta, of Hiawatha, Iowa, is the first living veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to receive the award. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)


By Aaron Hepker

WASHINGTON - Hiawatha-native, Medal of Honor recipient Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta will be joining First Lady Michelle Obama at President Obama's State of the Union address tonight.

Giunta, who received the nation's top military award in November for stepping into an ambush in Afghanistan to try to rescue fellow troops, is among 25 named on the White House Guest List for the First Lady’s Box at the State of the Union Address.

Since receiving the award in November, Giunta has made several public appearances including interviews on the "Late Show with David Letterman" and Comedy Central's "Colbert Report". Giunta was the guest of honor at the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Drop pressing the ceremonial button to signal the release of the famous crystal ball in Times Square.

Also joining the First Lady is Daniel Hernandez, the intern who cared for Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in the head, and the family of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, who was the youngest of six people killed in a mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, earlier this month.

On Tuesday night, Giunta, Hernandez, the Greens and Mrs. Obama's other guests will sit in her box overlooking the floor of the House.

Mrs. Obama's other guests include: Brandon Fisher, who owns a small business in Pennsylvania that manufactures drill bits and other equipment used to help rescue 33 miners who were trapped in a Chilean mine. Also seated with the first lady will be several other military veterans, patients impacted by Obama's health care bill, entrepreneurs and business people who benefited from the economic stimulus bill, and a few student inventors.

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